Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Rebranding initiative gets web resource

The college has created a platform for students to engage in Emerson’s transition to a new visual identity that will launch after this year.

Launching in March, the Brand Center is a new web portal where the community can learn about the rebranding project, said Michael Sarra, associate vice president of marketing. The site will have transition updates and accessible information on design, color pallette, logos, and how the new brand will be shared.

The rebranding initiative was announced in 2013 and began in 2015 with a year of extensive research from focus groups and surveys. The new visual identity was revealed to the community in spring 2016 and received a wave of backlash. Students and alumni criticized it in the Emerson Mafia Facebook Page, calling it unprofessional and comparing it to the design of Dixie Cups.

Following the release of a new graphic identity, Sarra said he received mixed feedback from students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

“What primarily stood out to me, and wasn’t surprising to me, was that our students really wanted us to be seen as a serious academic institution,” Sarra said.

In an email to be released to the community Thursday morning, Sarra said this insight is being used to continue to refine the brand.

Most of the negative feedback focused on the decorative “e,” known as “the flourish,” which was never intended to be the new college logo, Sarra said. The symbol is not being redesigned, he said, but its position in the brand is changing.

“A visual identity and brand are bigger than a logo,” Sarra said. “There are so many important components to creating a powerful, cohesive, and impressive brand.”

Other notable elements of the brand include photography, color palette, and graphic art, he said. There will be updates on the flourish after the launch of the Brand Center.

Carley Durant, junior marketing communication major, said she thinks the flourish has the potential to be a memorable brand symbol.

“I think they can make [the flourish] more interesting, artistic, and eye catching because what we’ve seen is very subtle and simple, and Emerson students aren’t,” Durant said.  

Jasmine Williams, freshman communication sciences and disorder major, said she is still unimpressed with the flourish as part of the college’s brand.

“[The flourish] doesn’t look like it represents Emerson,” Williams said.

The complete transition may take a long time, but Sarra said he thinks the brand is dynamic, visually pleasing, and a good representation of Emerson.  

“What everyone saw in the spring was a small slice to what is a very dynamic visual identity system,” Sarra said. “That’s why we really want to share the system as a whole, all at once, in its full character.”


Emily Tanaka contributed to this report.

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